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Opportunistic timing and manipulation in Australian Federal Elections


  • Lesmono, Dharma
  • Tonkes, Elliot
  • Burrage, Kevin


In many parliamentary systems, election timing is an important decision made by governments in order to maximize their expected remaining life in power. Governments can also introduce policy or economic actions to enhance their popular standing and thus their chance of being re-elected. On the other hand, an oppositions' natural objective is to gain power, and they will also apply controls through their own policies to reduce the governments' chance of being re-elected. In this paper we employ a dynamic programming approach to determine the optimal timing for governments and oppositions to best utilize their limited resources. At each decision branch, the optimal control is interpreted as a Nash-Cournot equilibrium of a zero-sum political game which, in certain states, admits mixed strategy solutions. We perform a case study on the Australian Federal Election for House of Representatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Lesmono, Dharma & Tonkes, Elliot & Burrage, Kevin, 2009. "Opportunistic timing and manipulation in Australian Federal Elections," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 192(2), pages 677-691, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ejores:v:192:y:2009:i:2:p:677-691

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Holbrook, Thomas M. & DeSart, Jay A., 1999. "Using state polls to forecast presidential election outcomes in the American states," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 137-142, April.
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    3. Smith, Alastair, 2003. "Election Timing in Majoritarian Parliaments," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(03), pages 397-418, July.
    4. Brown, Lloyd B. & Chappell Jr., Henry W., 1999. "Forecasting presidential elections using history and polls," International Journal of Forecasting, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 127-135, April.
    5. Ito, Takatoshi, 1990. "The timing of elections and political business cycles in Japan," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 135-156.
    6. Alastair Smith, 1996. "Endogenous Election Timing In Majoritarian Parliamentary Systems ," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(2), pages 85-110, July.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:69:y:1975:i:04:p:1218-1231_24 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Balke, Nathan S, 1990. "The Rational Timing of Parliamentary Elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 65(3), pages 201-216, June.
    9. Philippe Robert-Demontrond & R. Ringoot, 2004. "Introduction," Post-Print halshs-00081823, HAL.
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